Voices that Carry

Joshua 6:20 “…and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, and they took the city.”

It is political season in the United States. From now until November all the media outlets will be saturated with political ads as every advocate for every cause will be projecting their voices in an effort to be heard. Some days, I just have to pull away from all those voices and go for a birding walk. But as a Christian, should I pull away? Should I remain silent?

As I stepped outdoors to get away, my attention was immediately drawn to a noisy bird circling overhead; his loud voice was carrying on the wind. One of the Killdeer birds that is normally darting around in our parking lot was flying through the air and shouting its name: Kill-deah! Kill-deah!!! The voices of the other plovers are more pleasantly described as ‘a plaintive or musical whistle.’ But not the Killdeer, of which Peterson’s Field Guide gives a one-word description: “noisy”.

Killdeer plover bird flying

Killdeer; Walton County, Georgia. www.williamwisephoto.com

So, just like the political activists, the Killdeer too wanted his voice to be heard! And perhaps I should take a lesson from the Killdeer. As Christians, in the interest of peace and harmony, do we remain quiet as the special interest groups shout aloud in support of their own, often unrighteous, causes? Do we let their voices carry louder than ours? The last time that happened, the outcome wasn’t so good. “And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed” (Luke 23:23).

This Killdeer was exemplifying his boisterous description, and simultaneously living up to his species name: Charadrius vociferous. Vociferous is from the Latin, meaning “to shout, yell.” If you break it down, vox means “voice”, and ferre, meaning “to carry”; therefore, vociferous describes ‘voices that carry’. Aptly describing my little plover flying overhead!

Killdeer plover bird

Killdeer; Walton County, Georgia. www.williamwisephoto.com

As the other voices carry along on the winds of social media, radio and television, our Christian voices in support of righteousness should also be heard! What if William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln had remained silent? Instead, they let their voices carry on the wind, like the vociferous Killdeer, and changed our society!

Joshua 6:20 “So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Preparing a Place

Thank God it’s Sunday! Finally, an opportunity between morning and evening church service for an afternoon of backyard birding! I have prepared my spot on the patio for an afternoon of relaxation: coffee, binoculars, camera, more coffee, eBird app, notebook and pen, and fill the feeders. I can relax in this beautiful scene my Creator has designed for me… and also meditate upon the future home He is currently preparing for me!

Eastern Bluebird Nest Boxes

Eastern Bluebird at nest box; Clarke County, Georgia. April, 2017.

After noting the different bird species in the flurry of activity at the freshly filled feeders, my eyes were drawn to the pair of Eastern Bluebirds. The male and female repeatedly crisscrossed the yard, alighting here and there upon the nest boxes, spending a moment in thought, and then moving to the next. Although it is still only February, they are preparing for spring.

When my family moved into our current home in Georgia, after we were comfortably settled, it was time to prepare a backyard bird sanctuary. In addition to the small pond, feeders, fruiting shrubs and honeysuckle vines, I wanted to prepare a home for the Bluebirds and built three nest boxes. To my surprise, the very first season, the bluebirds began preparing a home for their young and have had two clutches per season every year!

Eastern Bluebird at Nest Box

Eastern Bluebird nest box; Clarke County, Georgia. April 2017.

But my joy is not only in preparing a home for the bluebirds, and in watching them prepare a nest for their young, but also in knowing a glorious home is currently being prepared for me! And the home He is preparing is no quickly built bluebird nest box! Our Savior has been preparing for 2,000 years now… what a glorious home it will be!

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: …I go to prepare a place for you.” -John 14:2

And since He so graciously has been preparing a home, we should be preparing our hearts! Luke 12:43-47 “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing… And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures  and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made the earth overflow with Your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Who Won?

via Begegnung

A photographer, Alois Absenger, who lives in Southeast Styria, Germany, is one I have been following for quite a few years. He has great photos of many different topics, but captures critters often. This one caught my interest. Visit his site for splendid captures with his camera. Alois Absenger

PT8H0005-Absenger A

These verses help illustrate this:

Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers (fox); The snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
(Psalms 124:6-8 NKJV)

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3 NKJV)

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NKJV)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV)

“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NKJV)

“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Revelation 3:3 NKJV)

Thanks, Alois, for allowing me to use your photos occasionally.

Alois Absenger

The King’s Fisher

Have you ever observed the superb skills of a Kingfisher making a headlong dive from an overhanging branch into a pond? The true origin of the Kingfisher’s name isn’t certain. But if you have seen him come up with a large fish, you must agree he is aptly named the king fisher!

Belted Kingfisher; Walton County Georgia

However, since many other birds are also quite good at catching fish, he may not have obtained that name by simply being the best at fishing. Another theory is that some monarch – a king with an affinity for the bird – gave him the name: thus, the King’s Fisher. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary states the name was originally written as The King’s Fisher (“kyngys fischare” in Middle English). I can’t help but think of King Solomon’s “three thousand proverbs which spoke of trees, beasts, birds, creeping things, and fishes.”

The King of Kingfishers

During his earthly ministry of discipling young fishermen to become apostles, Jesus stated, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).  The Lord’s desire is for His people to be the best fishermen they can be; to “launch out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch” of lost souls (Luke 5:4). If it is truly our Lord’s desire for us to be such fishers of men, we should strive to be the best fishermen possible! We can learn a few fishing tips from the Kingfisher.

Be Vocal!

Kingfishers are quite vocal and their loud, rattling call is often heard long before they are seen. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology states, “Male and female Belted Kingfishers give strident, mechanical rattles in response to the slightest disturbance.” I can always hear a Kingfisher from my office if there is one on the retention pond. As Christians hoping to win souls for our King, we should be just as vocal about the saving grace of Jesus everywhere we go. Our presence and evangelistic desire should never be hidden.  As Paul said, “If our gospel is hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Corinthians 4:3).

Dive In!

The Kingfisher’s mode of catching fish is also an inspiration. They plunge headfirst directly from a perch, or, by hovering over the water bill downward, dive in after a fish they’ve spotted. Oh how many more souls we might win if we were to dive headfirst into every situation declaring the Gospel! A “pool” of souls on a city bus?  Dive in head first and preach! A “school” of fish? Take a plunge and declare the word of God no matter what the teachers might say!

So take an evangelistic tip from the Kingfisher: dive in and be vocal! After all, we are the King of Kings’ Fishers!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures  and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made the earth overflow with Your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

 

Bird’s With Faces Like Garfield’s Face

Frogmouth Olan Mills-like-pose

Garfield is having a bit of a time getting his face in order this morning.

Garfield’s Face

So, just thought you might want to see a few birds with a face that could give Garfield Competition!

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, And we are glad.” (Psalms 126:2-3 NKJV)

Vulture-turkey.Texas Hill Country

Secretarybird look straight at the lens – ©Pinterest – Rudi Luyten

Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) ©Wiki

Nazca Booby (Sula granti) by Ian

Nazca Booby (Sula granti) Portrait ©WikiC

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) Calling for partner ©WikiC

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) ©WikiC

Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) ©WikiC

Wattled Curassow (Crax globulosa) ©WikiC

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) ©Flickr Justin

Philippine Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus philippensis) ©Flickr Billy Lopue

Owl Winking ©Flickr Darren D

Bornean Frogmouth (Batrachostomus mixtus) juv ©©RichardWellis

Bornean Frogmouth (Batrachostomus mixtus) juv ©©RichardWellis

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) with young ©Jullan Iondono

Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus) with young ©Jullan Iondono

 

I think you get the idea. God made them all, and us. We are all different, yet the Lord loves us.

“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21 NKJV)

See Garfield’s Face & Bird’s Faces A different version of this.

Good News

Birds That Can’t Fly – Creation Moments

Birds That Can’t Fly – Creation Moments

Genesis 1:21

“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

There are quite a number of birds that cannot fly. This sometimes surprises us, but it shouldn’t. We tend to wonder how they “lost” the ability to fly, but, although there are some species that might possibly have lost an ability to fly (as losing such an ability usually involves loss of information, not spontaneous creation), there is no reason to suppose that many have lost an ability. After all, we do not wonder at mammals that fly (i.e., bats), and we accept that these were created on Day Five, whereas most mammals were made on Day Six. In the same way, most flightless birds seem to be perfectly designed the way that they are. Ratite birds, for example, have no keel on their sternum. The keel is what anchors muscles to the wings, to enable flight. But birds like ostriches, rheas, emus and kiwis show no evidence, either in extant species or in the fossil record, to suggest that they ever had a structure. Therefore, they have not evolved into such a state – they were designed like that by God because that is the best design for us.

Other birds are flightless for other reasons. Penguins, for example, do not fly, but they do sort-of fly through water! Again, this requires a particular type of design that could not arise by itself. God designed penguins just perfectly for their habitat and their lives.

Flightless birds do not support evolutionary ideas. God created them as He saw fit.

Prayer: Thank You Father, even for those creatures that seem so strange to us! But they are part of Your overall design, and they give witness to Your creative power. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: O’daniel, D. (2015), Flightless Birds—Alternate Flight Plan, < https://answersingenesis.org/birds/flightless-birds-alternate-plan/ >, accessed 1/30/2019. Image: CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic.

North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) by Derek©©

Lesser Rhea (Rhea pennata) ©WikiC

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Memphis Zoo by Lee

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Memphis Zoo by Lee

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) Lowry Pk Zoo

Emu ((Dromaius novaehollandiae) Zoo Tampa by Lee

Creation Moments

More When I Consider Articles

Good News Tracts

Dabbler or Diver

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.” (The Message)

The Hooded Merganser ducks have finally arrived for the winter on the small pond behind my office in Georgia. Not only are they so unlike our resident Mallards in appearance, sporting that black-and-white retractable crest, but they differ greatly in habit and action. That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

When not cutting across the water for a free handout of bread, our trio of “green head” Mallards stay along the edges of the pond, searching the shallows for aquatic vegetation and larvae. They are the dabblers. But the Mergansers! Those “hoodies” swim out to the middle of the pond and SPLASH!!!… they disappear, diving down to the depths. They are the divers. They go deep for those delectable bottom dwellers!

When it comes to the Christian life, dabbling along the edges might be just enough to keep you alive until the next church service. But oh how much richer, how much more rewarding, to dive to the depths of sanctification and sacrifice. C.S. Lewis wrote, “This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea and there neither dive nor swim, but only to dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.

One observer of ducks wrote, “Dabbling ducks have the condition known as ‘duck butt.’ You look at them in the water and sometimes see no face, just a duck rear end sticking straight up in the air.” And over the last twenty-six years of my salvation, I’ve observed that the church visitors or new converts that remain on the edge – only occasionally seeing their faces and merely dabbling in dedication – they usually migrate away at their season’s end, never to return. But the diver! The diver that abandons all to explore the depths of prayer, discipleship, ministry, giving, evangelism, and the call of God, they repeatedly come with mouths full and to spare for others!

If you’ve been dabbling on the edges in your commitment to serve Christ and to serve in your local church, row out to the middle, step out of the boat, and dive in. I assure you, the water’s great! That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that uses nature writing and photography to glorify our Creator and teach the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

See more post from William Wise

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds IV

Little Grassbird (Megalurus gramineus) Adult Feeding Juvenile©WikiC

While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network), I heard this message by Pastor Stephen Davey and wanted to share it. His message was “Better than the Birds” and of course it caught my attention. There are four parts, but I am only sharing the introduction and part four here.

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds was the introduction to the “Better Than The Birds” message by Pastor Stephen Harvey.

We were told that “1. Worry denies the gracious care of God.”

We were told, “2. Secondly, worry depreciates the higher value of mankind” In  Better Than The Birds II

We were told, “3. Thirdly, worry distorts our perspective in life” In Better Than The Birds III

Now for Part IV

4. Worry diminishes our distinctiveness as believers

Look at verse 29. “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying [about it]. 30. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek.”

Even as Christians we can get caught up in the world’s idea that we live because of our bodies. And since we think we live because of our bodies, we start living for our bodies.
That’s the way the world lives . . . it’s literally all about your body – your body – what you do with it, what you do for it, what you do to it – what you put on it, what you put in it.
That’s the passion of the world – the body.

Further, one author wrote it this way, “it is characteristic of the secular world to be obsessed with economic questions, to be almost entirely engrossed by consumer concerns, to be preoccupied with finding and getting better and better things.”xi

Jesus says, effectively, all these things are the things the nations of earth are after.

But maybe you’re thinking, well, somebody’s got to worry about my stuff!

So be careful here . . . let’s be balanced. Jesus isn’t advocating that we just stick our heads in the sand and everything will be alright.

Osprey Catching Fish - Viera Wetlands

Osprey Catching Fish – Viera Wetlands by Dan

The truth is, the animal kingdom is busy. Those little birds work hard . . . just watch them sometime. I doubt any of them get 2 weeks of vacation.

The question is, are you actively stewarding or managing what God has given you or are really at heart worrying about what God hasn’t given you or what He might not let you keep?

One author reviewed statistical percentages and summarized that:

 40% of our worries are about the future
 20% of our worries are about the past
 22% of our worries are about our health
 And 8% of our worries are about petty things we can’t do anything about; which means, 90% of what we worry about are things we can’t change.

Which is why one man wrote, “Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but it never takes you anywhere.”

But what do we do about stuff we worry about?

I read about one man’s solution. He told his friend, “I have a mountain of debt; I’ve lost my job, my car was repossessed, our house is in foreclosure and I’m not even worried about it!”

“You’re not?” his friend said, “why not?”

“Well, I’ve hired a professional worrier. He does all the worrying for me, and that way I don’t have to think about it.”

“That’s fantastic. How much does your professional worrier charge you for his services?”

“Fifty thousand dollars a year.”

“Fifty thousand dollars a year – where are you going to get that kind of money?”

“I don’t know . . . that’s his worry!”xii

There’s got to be a better solution than that.

Jesus effectively challenges us with two solutions. They’re not easy . . . but they’re right.

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

1. Make sure God and His kingdom stays first!

Verse 31, Jesus says, ‘But seek His kingdom and these things will be added to you.
In other words, He’s promised to give you the Kingdom – vs. 32 – now live with the Kingdom of God in mind.
Imagine it this way. Imagine that after this service, I showed you a will that my uncle left – he was a multimillionaire and he just died and showed you where he left all his money to you – all 25 million dollars. He didn’t leave it to me – his nephew – he left it to you – my former friend. You used to go to church here.

Now all you have to do is go to the bank tomorrow morning, sign the papers and deposit that 25 million dollars into your personal bank account.

Now tell me. How would you feel about your car on the way home? Would you pull up at a red light and be embarrassed that it’s so old? What about the interest rate on your home?

Would you worry about that? What about the stock market forecasts on the evening news tonight? Would you be worried about the meeting your boss has asked for tomorrow afternoon . . . would you lose any sleep over any of that?

No . . . why not? Because you are even now a multimillionaire, even though you don’t have one nickel of that money in your account.

But it is effectively already yours.

Jesus says, “You’re going to be given the kingdom – you are a king and queen in the coming spectacular reign of Christ on earth.

Between now and then, how are you going to live? You don’t have the crown or the robe or the throne – but it’s already yours. So keep that in mind live for that . . . pursue that . . . seek first that kingdom . . . keep your future in mind.

Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) ©WikiC Feeding Young

2. Make sure God and His kingdom stays first!

Matthew’s account adds another phrase to Luke’s account that provides the second solution.

Matthew records in 6:34; So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Can you believe Jesus said that? Don’t worry about tomorrow – it has enough trouble just waiting for you.

Is He being pessimistic?

No . . . He’s also handing out another pearl of wisdom.

Here it is . . . not only should we make sure we put God first; secondly, we should make sure tomorrow stays put!

I’m not sure about the grammar, but you get my point. Make sure tomorrow stays put.

Now, Jesus isn’t saying don’t plan for tomorrow; He’s saying, don’t pull tomorrow’s problems and challenges into today.

God gives grace for today – and He doles out His grace one day at a time; which means Satan will try to crush our spiritual shoulders by trying to make us carry tomorrow’s burdens with only today’s grace.

So, overcoming worry means you develop the art of living one day at a time.xiii

Hudson Taylor often said, “When you are walking with God [today], the responsibilities [of tomorrow] rest with Him.xiv

In the meantime, make sure you put God first;
make sure tomorrow stays put.

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon

The truth is, and the convicting challenge in these final questions we’ve explored, is that you are better than the birds – now live like it . . . live up to your value as you trust your sovereign Lord – who cares about every detail of your life now – and He’s even preparing a kingdom with you in mind.

Martin Luther, that reformer centuries ago once described his favorite preacher. He wrote, I have one preacher I love better than any other; it is my little tame robin who preaches to me daily. I put his crumbs upon my window sill, especially at night. He hops onto the sill when he wants his supply, and takes as much as he desires to satisfy his need. From thence he always hops to a little tree close by, and lifts up his voice to God, and sings his carol of praise and gratitude, then tucks his little head under his wings, and goes fast to sleep, leaving tomorrow to look after itself.xv

That’s quite a preacher . . . quite a sermon to begin living up to – let’s live up to it, today.

This manuscript is from a sermon preached on 4/28/2013 by Stephen Davey.
© Copyright 2013 Stephen Davey All rights reserved.

(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)

i John MacArthur, Matthew 1-7 (Moody Publishers, 1985), p. 419
ii Ibid
iii William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Westminster, 1975), p. p. 160
iv Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible: Luke (Tyndale, 1997), p. 314
v Barclay, p. 161
vi MacArthur, p. 119
vii MacArthur, p. 140
viii William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew: Volume 1 (Westminster, 1975), p. 257
ix R. Kent Hughes, Luke: Volume 2 (Crossway, 1998), p. 54
x MacArthur, Matthew, p. 421
xi Grant R. Osborne, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Luke (Zondervan, 2010), p. 252
xii Robert J. Morgan, Stories, Illustrations and Quotes (Thomas Nelson, 2000), p. 804
xiii Barclay, Matthew, p. 258
xiv Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor: Volume 2 (OMF International, 1996), p. 31
xv Morgan, p. 804


Lee’s Addition:

What a great series of messages from Pastor Stephen Davey. Wisdom For The Heart

We heard this originally on our local Bible Broadcasting Network station. It is now on the internet at:

BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network),

See:

Here am I, Where are You?

Always Honking

Honk…honk…honk!” Before you ever see the birds’ characteristic black heads and white cheek patches, you identify Canada Geese coming as they honk across the sky in their typical V-shaped pattern. It seems Canada Geese are always vocal; on the ground, in the air, while feeding, when waking up, just before they sleep… they are always honking.

So that begs the question: what are they honking about? What are they saying? Biologists tell us they honk to keep family groups together; they honk to communicate rest or feeding areas; they honk to alert others of danger or predators; or, especially the younger birds, they just “go off with a jag of honking that seems to serve no other purpose than sheer exuberance – the expression of joy and excitement over the ability to fly with their friends and family.” 

Keeping it Together

Birds face many hazards during migration. Facing often severe weather and high winds, some may get blown off course or get caught in a storm. Inexperienced birds may chart a wrong course and fatally collide with tall buildings, windows, and other structures, or risk being shot by hunters. It is during the hardships of migration that honking becomes so important to Canada Geese. The blinding snow and rain, or thick fog, may make it impossible to see one another. So, as they toil through the sky, they honk to keep their flock together.

The geese are talking to one another. Each is saying to its companions, ‘Here am I… where are you? Here am I… where are you?’ Aloft in storm and cloud, the voices hold the flock together. They speak out loudly against wind and distance so that others of their kind, strayed or lost, may know the way. Under fair sky the calls continue for reassurance and to reassure. ‘Come along, do not tire. We are on the right course and will soon stop for rest.’ It is no fable, but a truth of nature; experienced elders lead the way.

Magnificent Voyagers, Waterfowl of North America

The experienced elder goose is leading the way with his honking, while the others follow honking encouragement to the others to keep to the course and not quit the flight. The grounded geese that left the flock because of weariness or injury can hear the incessant calling, “Here am I… where are you?” and rejoin their migrating families. It is the duty of those still in flight and on course to call out to their lost and weary relations to come back and return to the path.

Calling Out to Others

In life, many people around us may fly the wrong course or succumb to the hazards of life: failure and defeat, drugs and alcohol, apathy or crime. We have a duty to our fellow man to fly the right course and to lead them in a safe direction. We are to be leaders in our schools, on our jobs, in our families. We have a duty to not leave behind the weak and weary, and to help others to the safe places of rest and success that have been shown to us.

As Christians, we all have a duty to “honk” as the Canada Goose: “Here am I…where are you?” There are many – family members, friends, coworkers, schoolmates – that are lost and on the wrong course. They will never find the right course and follow Jesus if we, the ones that know the right path, don’t call out to them to follow. 

The New Living Translation of Romans 10:14 states, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” If we remain silent, they will never find the way. Our constant, clear call of “Here am I…where are you? Here Am I…where are You?” makes it ever known to them to where they can return when they tire of the life of sin. ​

Where are You?

Before you can lead others and call “Here am I…”, do you know where you are heading? Are you on the narrow path that leads to life? If not, follow the voice of the Savior who “calls you out of darkness into His wonderful life” (I Peter 2:9). And if you do know the course, never quit your duty of calling out to those who are lost or weary. Like the geese that seem to never quit honking, so should you never cease making the call: “Here am I…where are you?  Here am I…where are you?


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds III

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 3©USFWS

While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network), I heard this message by Pastor Stephen Davey and wanted to share it. His message was “Better than the Birds” and of course it caught my attention. There are four parts, but I am only sharing the introduction and part three here.

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds was the introduction to the “Better Than The Birds” message by Pastor Stephen Harvey.

We were told that “1. Worry denies the gracious care of God.”

We were told, “2. Secondly, worry depreciates the higher value of mankind” In  Better Than The Birds II,

Now for Part III

3. Thirdly, worry distorts our perspective in life
In other words, worry makes you start living only for the here and now!

Go back to verse 22. And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat, nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.”

In other words, life is really about more what we’re going to eat and what we’re going to wear?

Jesus delivers encouragement to those in his day who could honestly be worried about the lack of water and food. In His culture, workers were paid daily, they bought their food daily – which is why they were taught to pray for daily bread – which we don’t worry so much about because our loaves of bread will last a couple of weeks.
In Jesus’ day, nobody was praying for bread next week – that was simply too far ahead.

Add to that the fact that their government offered no security; there wasn’t insurance, workman’s comp or benefit packages.

But there were taxes to be paid. New Testament scholars estimate that as much as 40% of their income went to taxes.

All that to say, this challenge by Jesus was staggering to them – and a great challenge to their faith in God’s provision.

In our generation, this isn’t so much an encouragement as much as it is an indictment.

While the average person has food in the fridge, clothes in the closet and a car in the driveway, what you eat and what you drink and what you dress in and what you drive have become national obsessions.

We are effectively worried that our clothes aren’t costly enough; our cars aren’t new enough; our food isn’t gourmet enough; our bank accounts aren’t big enough.

Jesus says, to that generation and this one – your life is about much more than that . . . don’t live for stuff that runs out or wears out – or goes out of style.

He promises here, not that He’ll meet our greeds, but our needs.

Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) ©©ornitholoco

Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) ©©ornitholoco

Oh, and by the way, if you want to talk about really splendid clothing – verse 27 – Consider the lilies, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory, clothed himself like one of these. (now here’s the pearl of wisdom) 28. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!

Jesus probably had his audience look around on that hillside – perhaps He gestured at the irises, the Turk’s cap lilies, the gladioli and scarlet poppies along with a smattering of wild flowers that bloomed for a day or two on the hillsides of Palestine.viii

He clothed them brilliantly and they don’t eve last that long!

The word for furnace here is a reference to the ordinary clay oven of this day – used primarily to bake bread. When the cook wanted to raise the temperature of the oven quickly, they would have handfuls of these same field flowers and dried grasses bundled nearby and they would grab a handful and throw it into the oven.

Something destined for the oven was still designed by God with brilliant colors and creative genius.

And all these wildflowers didn’t necessarily make it to the oven.

Martin Luther the converted monk and church reformer in the 16th century said that there were lessons of God’s glory in such beautiful flowers destined for such short life spans – he wrote “it seems that the flowers stand there and make us blush and become our teachers. Thank you flowers, you who are to be devoured by the cows!”ix

In other words, birds and flowers and nature around us teaches us the glory of God’s creative ability and His care and delight to have designed animals and flowers that live only briefly.

Twenty Hummingbirds at Feeder

Twenty Hummingbirds at Feeder

My wife has added birds to our backyard – strategically hanging feeders so that our back yard sounds like a constant aviary.
Yellow finches, hummingbirds, the elusive blue bird, the brilliant cardinal, sparrows, finches by the dozens, chic-a-dees, wrens, mourning doves, the unwanted mockingbird who thinks he owns the backyard and our deck and our house too.

Marsha and I often talk about the marvel of God’s hidden designs – noticed by so few. God created so much variety – to take the time to design splashes of white underneath large black eyes; to stripe transparent wings with burgundy and brown – to design symmetrical patterns of blue and gray.

Why? To declare His glory and to bring such sights for us to enjoy and marvel over His creation . . . and another reason – to remind us not to worry.

National Aviary – Outside feeder

For if God so cares about the details and designs of little birds and wild flowers – how much more does He care about us – His chief design, made in His image to talk with Him and walk with Him and worship Him and fellowship with and one day reign with Him.

In fact, notice verse 32. Do not worry – don’t be anxious or afraid – little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

In other words, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Don’t worry! Why?

Worry denies the gracious care of God

Worry depreciates the higher value of mankind

Worry distorts your perspective in life to the present –the here and now

One more:

(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)

i John MacArthur, Matthew 1-7 (Moody Publishers, 1985), p. 419
ii Ibid
iii William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Westminster, 1975), p. p. 160
iv Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible: Luke (Tyndale, 1997), p. 314
v Barclay, p. 161
vi MacArthur, p. 119


Lee’s Addition:

See:

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Spangled Drongo

For the New Year we had the hopeful Wise Owls. Well 2020 is less than three weeks old and it’s been a bumpy ride already in various parts of the world such as Australia and Iran. So the current bird of the moment is the Australian (Spangled) Drongo. Anyone familiar with Australian slang will know that Drongo is used in Australian English as a mild form of insult meaning “idiot” or “stupid fellow” (“stupid eejit” in Irish English). Very unfair to the birds you might think – Drongos are far from stupid – but in fact it is derived from an eponymous racehorse in the 1920s that never won a single race out of the 37 in which it ran. I’ll finish this post by nominating my human New Year Drongo.
spangled_drongo_60617_pp.jpg
We’ll start with the birds. The Drongo family (Dicruridae Birdway) consist of single genus with 26 species in Africa south of the Sahara, tropical and sub-tropical Asia and Australasia. The Spangled Drongo is the only one occurring in Australia and its range includes New Guinea and the Moluccas of eastern Indonesia. In Australia it occurs mainly in coastal tropical and sub-tropical regions from the Kimberley in Western Australia, through the Top End of the Northern Territory to Queensland and eastern NSW. It is summer visitor in the southeastern Australia as far as Victoria and eastern South Australia, but breeds mainly north of 31ºS (Port Macquarie, NSW).
It is a fairly typical Drongo species, 30cm/12in long, with black plumage, an evil-looking red eye, a predatory beak, and a forked tail. Exceptions to the black plumage rule are the Ashy (Birdway) and White-bellied Drongo. The forked tail is mainly used for acrobatic flight – like Kites – in pursuit of aerial prey. Sex, of course, intervenes, and some species have evolved decorative tails for display such as the Racquet- and Ribbon-tailed ones.
spangled_drongo_07079_pp.jpg
The “Spangled” refers to highly reflective pale spots on the breast but, rather like sparkling hummingbirds, are visible only when the light is at the right angle (e.g first photo) so birds often appear just black (second photo) with a greenish or bluish iridescence. Juvenile birds (third photo) have white patches on the breast and on the vent. This one is quite young and has a short tail and a “what am I supposed to do now?” expression.
spangled_drongo_106315_pp.jpg
They’re loud and assertive birds, perching on prominent sites on the lookout for large insects which they pursue with great agility. From a birdwatcher’s point of view, they have a dark side appropriate to their appearance, and will feed on nestlings, like the unfortunate one in the fourth photo. There are a couple in my garden that regularly visit the birdbath and, although I admire their survival skills, I have mixed feelings about them.
spangled_drongo_01542_pp.jpg
Their assertiveness extends to breeding and they’ll readily place their nests in obvious places such as this one on the separation bar of powerlines in a suburban street.  This one is grandly called Park Lane between Bayswater Road and Oxford Street in West End, a Townsville suburb named, I assume, using the London version of the Monopoly board. (I was brought up on the Dublin version and the equivalent of Park Lane was, I think, Shrewsbury Road at the dark blue most expensive end. The nest-building skills of Drongos are impressive.
spangled_drongo_200050_pp.jpg
Anyway, enough about mere birds. My Drongo nomination reflects my frustration with the Australian Government’s refusal to do anything of substance about climate change not just in Madrid, but especially in the light – or heat – of the catastrophic bushfires in Australia. For once it seems that the media have not over-dramatised the situation, if anything they have failed to communicate adequately the true horror of what is happening. My award goes to Government back-bencher Craig Kelly for this extraordinary interview on Good Morning Britain on British TV. If you haven’t already watched it, please do; if it weren’t so serious it would be funny.
To end on a more positive note, after the Australian election last May, I made a moral rather than economic decision to install solar panels, on the basis that if the Government wasn’t going to do anything then it was up to individuals. The bushfires spurred me into action and I have just signed a contract for installation of a 6.6Kw system. It seemed pity to have a suitable, naked roof going to waste in one of the hottest and sunniest parts of Australia. This is what it’s supposed to look like, good Spangled Drongo habitat.
roof_of_house.jpg
The projections are that the system will generate 11MWh of electricity annually, replacing the equivalent of 3.4 tonnes of coal (allowing for the averages percentages of electricity generated by coal and natural gas in Australia, 73% and 13% respectively) which in turn is equivalent to saving the emission of between 9 and 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s nearly half the average per capital Australian annual emissions, an embarrassing 22-25 tonnes, so I should have done it ages ago.
Meanwhile, under that roof I’ve been steadily add photos of new species from the South American trip, more than 120 to date and you find links to most of them here: Birdway Additions. I’ve finished adding new bird species and am adding photos to ones that I’ve photographed elsewhere and other wildlife such as mammals: Birdway Wildlife. Needless to say the Jaguar is the star of the Mammalian show and I like this one of a female having a drink.
jaguar_204021-pp.jpg
I had a lovely New Year greeting from a recipient in Taiwan, and he, Li-Yi Chen, readily agree to my request to share it with you so here is a reduced version of it.
black_faced_spoonbill.jpg
You did of course recognise it immediately as a Black-faced Spoonbill, a rare species that winters in Taiwan. It’s the only one of the six species of Spoonbill (Birdway) that I haven’t photographed and he’s offered to show me them there so I’ve put Taiwan on my bucket list.
Enjoy the Drongo Photos and feel free to nominate your own New Year Drongo.
Ian

Lee’s Addition:

Ian seems quite concerned about several things, especially those fires down there in Australia. They brought many Koalas to Zoo Miami here in Florida.
We know that these fires and other disasters are terrible, but we also know that the Lord is in control and our world will continue.
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22 KJV)
See more of Ian’s Articles
Also visit his site at Birdway

Kingfishers And Kookaburras – From Creation Moments

Genesis 1:20

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”

I remember watching a kingfisher, sitting on the branch of a tree, overlooking the pool beneath one of the waterfalls in Neath Valley in the heart of Wales. Its eyes were transfixed on the movements in the pool below. It was watching and waiting, and it had incredible patience. Then, it flew, diving down into the water, and emerging with a fish in its beak, back to the branch where it had previously been perched. It proceeded to beat the fish against the branch. Then it flew off to I know not where, along with its meal!

White-collared Kingfisher by Dan's Pix

White-collared Kingfisher by Dan’s Pix

This common kingfisher was distinctive – blue upperparts and orange underparts, along with its characteristic long bill. And it was doing what we expect kingfishers to do – catch fish! But not all kingfishers live on fish. One of the largest kingfishers – the kookaburra – lives in Australia and doesn’t tend to eat fish, preferring to eat mice and small reptiles, and even the young of other birds. The most well-known feature of the kookaburra is its characteristic laughing call.

Laughing Kookabura Brevard Zoo

Laughing Kookaburra and Dan at Brevard Zoo by Lee

There are over a hundred species of kingfisher, many of which have bright plumage and are among the most beautiful birds that you will see. So how many kingfishers would God have brought to Noah to take on the Ark, considering there are so many species? The answer is just two. One pair of kingfishers, into which God had placed genetic information for a wide variety of adaptations.

Prayer: Thank You again, Lord, for the beauty of Your creation, and the wisdom and variety that You put into it. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Encylopaedia Britannica, < https://www.britannica.com/animal/kingfisher-bird >, accessed 1/29/2019. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

Kingfishers and Kookaburras Creation Moments Article

I Love those Kingfishers and Kookaburras. (Lee)

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